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So you don't like Holsteins

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Nov 24, 2020 | 11:35 1 Well I know one thing's for sure, they are pretty good on my plate!

This lad has until January 13 to keep his head in the trough and his muzzle in the ground barley.

Right now he tips the scale at about 1150, so he should reach about 1250 by then. The first ones we butchered did 2.78 lbs. day from placement to slaughter.

According to his ear tag, he will be celebrating his 1st birthday on this coming Sunday.

The reports back on the first two barley fed steers we sold as freezer orders were all very positive. It seems that the barley diet gives it a special flavor that corn won't impart.

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Last edited by burnt; Nov 24, 2020 at 11:56.
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  • ajl
    Nov 24, 2020 | 12:06 2 Interesting. Know a couple of dairy farmers that feed their own steers and they said the same thing. You can finish holsteins but it is pretty much full feed all the way otherwise they will get framey before they get fat and then will not finish until they are 1800 lb. In this area, I assume a barley ration would be predominate. Where do you get barley when you can grow 200 bu corn fairy reliably in your area?
    Last edited by ajl; Nov 24, 2020 at 12:11.
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    Nov 24, 2020 | 13:52 3 Last year - 2019 -I grew a field of barley. At this point, I cannot for the life of me remember why, but at the time I thought it made sense.

    Maybe because feed barley was $300/T or more at the time and straw was $75 -$80 for a 4x5 bale? And we eventually took about 4 bales per acres off?

    But of course, by harvest that all dropped by 1/3 or more and it didn't look as good anymore.

    Put it in the bin and early this year priced it to a local feed mill for $280 FOB here. Eventually sold the straw to a dairy farmer for $65/bale.

    Prices dropped more and both backed out. We remember these things.

    So I decided to start feeding it to Holsteins for freezer orders.

    So now it looks like they may actually return more dollars net than the original plan would have paid. And the straw and manure go back on our own ground.

    And our customers really like the beef - future sales.

    When life hands you lemons, make steak?
    Last edited by burnt; Nov 24, 2020 at 13:54.
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  • Nov 24, 2020 | 14:37 4 We had several jersey cows when I was young. My dad always kept back a steer off the milk cows to feed up for beef. Was usually a black angus bull.

    He talked about how not only our family got milk, cream cheques, and cream and butter, but we got the best beef there is available. If he got a moose or elk, he’d sell the beef.

    Been toying with buying a couple Holstein calves and feeding them up someday. Reply With Quote
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    GDR

  • Nov 24, 2020 | 15:44 5 Mmmmmm meatballs 😋

    Currently have two critters in at the packers aging. One was planned and had crippled shoulder. The other was a 1,000 lbs steer who broke a front leg so he met an unscheduled demise in the field.

    How long do you age them before cutting? Usually aim for 21 days here as long as there’s enough fat cover and the packer has enough room. Reply With Quote
    Nov 24, 2020 | 17:01 6 We like 2 weeks minimum.

    But with the current capacity crunch for hooks and cutting tables, they don't seem too keen to tie up the space any longer than they can.

    Slaughter and processing was bad for a long time already. So it only got worse when the local abattoir burned down earlier this past summer.

    The rebuild plans are in place, but being held up by a very stupid squabble between two municipalities, the one where the plant stands (our municipality), and the other across the road, which provides water.

    The one that supplies some of the services wants a cut of the tax revenue from the businesses and industries hat get water, etc. They seem to overlook that fact that the "non-resident" users are already paying a 150% rate over resident fees for what they use. Reply With Quote
    GDR
    Nov 25, 2020 | 00:55 7 Good looking steers Burnt for Holsteins.

    Woodland I had a 6 or 7 yr old cow that was fat and I scared her back from going through an open gate I was trying to get a truck through and she went over backwards and broke a leg. I assumed we would get burger and tenderloin only but the butcher wanted to try more since she was fat. We hung her for 3 weeks, then he took a bunch of steaks and vacuum packed them and aged them for another 2 weeks before freezing them. Anyhow the steaks were fantastic and tender never would have guessed it was a cow and not a prime steer. Was a bit concerned where the line between aged and rotten is but guess its beyond 5 weeks! Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Nov 26, 2020 | 12:42 8 I think Holsteins are just one of those things that fell through the cracks of modern fat animal production, along with bulls and older cows. Somewhere along the line we got it in our heads that Old animals are bad and Bulls are bad and Dairy breeds are bad.

    Holsteins taste great and don't have that disgusting amount of fat on them that a lot of fed animals do. Unless someone wants to feed them for ages! Their biggest downfall is the shenanigans they like to get into. It's almost like trying to raise a sheep that just wants to find fun ways to injure and kill themselves. I had a calf once that climbed up a stack of small square bales and slept on top..... And they don't tend to dress out at the same high percentage as a beef breed unless you carry them longer, but for a family, who cares? Best place for them is on the plate, you'll get no return on them on the hoof trying to sell them.

    It's a modern day mystery to me why finished animals need sooooo much fat cover on them at the feedlot. It's not like most of them even hang for a little bit that the fat cover is saving any meat. It's pushing for a bit more marbling sure, but if you've ever cut into a fat animal.... just ugh.

    Interesting about barley vs corn taste. I don't know if I've ever really had corn fed. Probably hamburger but not a steak or roast. It would be interesting to have them side by side to compare. Can't say I really know what barley fed tastes like, it's an institution here to cover the meat with some sort of steak spice or sauce or something, so that's what your taste. Who just seasons with some salt and butter and sour cream so they get the meat flavour? That's the only way I eat mine! Reply With Quote
    Nov 27, 2020 | 08:02 9 You sure nailed it on the Holsteins temperament. They will chew anything within reach, try to eat exposed wood, grab your coat sleeve when they can - just the total package of highly annoying curiosity.

    Will I get in trouble for thinking that they are actually quite driven by intelligence? But sometimes they are so stupid...

    They don't convert and yield like beef animals since that isn't what they were selected for. But their meat is a finer texture than some beef breeds. hence lower margins on the same feed.

    Any money I have made in them has been through freezer orders and/or by buying low and selling high. Reply With Quote
    Nov 27, 2020 | 21:12 10 Some knowledgeable folks claim most of the steak in Vegas is Holstien out of Bakersfield feedlots.
    Lot's of good steak ate in sin city.
    We used to foster dairy calves on to cows that lost calves along the way and sometimes let some 1/2 holstien cows that were raised as pail bunters feed them till we needed them. Started with 4 but 2 culled out open when young but 2 stayed past 10. Those cows had huge capacity and could feed 3 calves and still breed back.
    Quit the dairy barn calves mostly due to risk/return concerns.
    We fed the steers hard till we got tired of them but they never looked finished.
    Always ate good if you don't mind cover your plate steak
    No chance for crusty outside rare inside.
    Don't think you could buy a stein calf within 150 mile of here unless the Hutts will sell you one. Reply With Quote
    Dec 14, 2020 | 09:57 11
    Quote Originally Posted by burnt View Post
    You sure nailed it on the Holsteins temperament. They will chew anything within reach, try to eat exposed wood, grab your coat sleeve when they can - just the total package of highly annoying curiosity.

    Will I get in trouble for thinking that they are actually quite driven by intelligence? But sometimes they are so stupid...

    They don't convert and yield like beef animals since that isn't what they were selected for. But their meat is a finer texture than some beef breeds. hence lower margins on the same feed.

    Any money I have made in them has been through freezer orders and/or by buying low and selling high.
    Well, I don't think a cow needs huge intelligence. Perhaps, for independent survival in the wild, he was needed, but since the cows became pets, a person solves all their problems. Reply With Quote
    AllisWD45's Avatar Dec 19, 2020 | 07:55 12
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    I think Holsteins are just one of those things that fell through the cracks of modern fat animal production, along with bulls and older cows. Somewhere along the line we got it in our heads that Old animals are bad and Bulls are bad and Dairy breeds are bad.

    Holsteins taste great and don't have that disgusting amount of fat on them that a lot of fed animals do. Unless someone wants to feed them for ages! Their biggest downfall is the shenanigans they like to get into. It's almost like trying to raise a sheep that just wants to find fun ways to injure and kill themselves. I had a calf once that climbed up a stack of small square bales and slept on top..... And they don't tend to dress out at the same high percentage as a beef breed unless you carry them longer, but for a family, who cares? Best place for them is on the plate, you'll get no return on them on the hoof trying to sell them.

    It's a modern day mystery to me why finished animals need sooooo much fat cover on them at the feedlot. It's not like most of them even hang for a little bit that the fat cover is saving any meat. It's pushing for a bit more marbling sure, but if you've ever cut into a fat animal.... just ugh.

    Interesting about barley vs corn taste. I don't know if I've ever really had corn fed. Probably hamburger but not a steak or roast. It would be interesting to have them side by side to compare. Can't say I really know what barley fed tastes like, it's an institution here to cover the meat with some sort of steak spice or sauce or something, so that's what your taste. Who just seasons with some salt and butter and sour cream so they get the meat flavour? That's the only way I eat mine!
    Interesting why finished cattle have so much fat cover. Some will tell you you need an inch plus fat so the meat is well marbled. i personally don't believe that. Marbling is also a function of genetics and the money in feedlots if there is any is in feeding them hard and fast. Thats why the diary steers are tasty without the tremendous fat cover.
    Might as well bring in grass fed and start a battle lol. I kept back a supposed bred heifer and grassfed her last summer in fact she never ever was fed grain. Turned out at 28 months she actually had marbling and about 1/2 inch of fat on her. Hung her for 21 days and is the meat ever tender and tasty. Absolutely no money in it commercially but for my own use thats the way to go. For interest sake she was cross Angus/ Galloway. I don't know her live weight but carcass weight was 650 lbs,
    I only use salt applied a few hours before cooking and pepper and garlic powder just before i cook a steak. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Dec 20, 2020 | 11:07 13
    Quote Originally Posted by AllisWD45 View Post
    Interesting why finished cattle have so much fat cover. Some will tell you you need an inch plus fat so the meat is well marbled. i personally don't believe that. Marbling is also a function of genetics and the money in feedlots if there is any is in feeding them hard and fast. Thats why the diary steers are tasty without the tremendous fat cover.
    Might as well bring in grass fed and start a battle lol. I kept back a supposed bred heifer and grassfed her last summer in fact she never ever was fed grain. Turned out at 28 months she actually had marbling and about 1/2 inch of fat on her. Hung her for 21 days and is the meat ever tender and tasty. Absolutely no money in it commercially but for my own use thats the way to go. For interest sake she was cross Angus/ Galloway. I don't know her live weight but carcass weight was 650 lbs,
    I only use salt applied a few hours before cooking and pepper and garlic powder just before i cook a steak.
    I think marbling is genetics, and age. We push to finish in under 2 years so they need copious amounts of fat for an animal that young to put towards marbling. An older animal can have very little fat cover and still good marbling.

    The fat cover is just... weird. It's not like commercial fats are generally hung. Hanging is why we aim to have some sort of fat cover so you lose less meat in the trimmings. Not an issue for commercial animals. Then there's the tall tale of marbling. They need marbling for flavour! Crock of shit. It's beef, not chicken. If you need fat for flavour then you're probably eating a grain fed, pushed animal that tastes like chicken. Fat should be a garnish on meat, it shouldn't be the flavour of it.

    The other factor of marbling is that people can't cook. The only way they know to cook steak is high heat, fast. In order to not completely maul the meat and dry it out, those cuts need marbling. Steaks with no marbling, roasts.... these cuts are rarely found in stores in large numbers, they're just ground up into hamburger. If anyone knows how to cook different cuts and grades of meat then they have little to no use for marbling.

    Animals that aren't pushed on grain, and older animals, have a very strong flavour. Reminiscent of venison and lamb. They don't need anything to add flavour to them, no need for Montreal steak spice or BBQ sauce. Usually I just use salt, pepper, garlic powder, butter and sour cream. Cooking depends on the cut. My last steer has great marbling in the Ribeye, Round, not so much. Surprising? Not at all. I make jerky and I need those cuts that aren't known for fat and marbling to not have fat. He was only 25 or 26 months at slaughter and any grain was miniscule.

    If you get somebody who cooks a grassed animal properly and then offers just a random person a piece of predominantly grass fed beef and a piece of grain fed - random person is probably going to go with grain fed. The flavour is too strong in grass fed, when you aren't used to it you don't like it.
    Last edited by Blaithin; Dec 20, 2020 at 11:14.
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  • Dec 23, 2020 | 07:32 14
    Quote Originally Posted by Challenger007 View Post
    Well, I don't think a cow needs huge intelligence. Perhaps, for independent survival in the wild, he was needed, but since the cows became pets, a person solves all their problems.
    True enough.

    But they obviously do have some inherent capacity, such as it is, in spite of being continual welfare recipients.

    Whether it is intelligence or instinct, who knows. Not my filed, if I may. ;-)

    One thing that always amazed me back in the day when my brother had a tie stall barn for his dairy cows, was how the cows always returned to the same stall when let in from pasture at milking time. Wow, that's going back a long time ago, like over 50 years now that I think about it!!

    Anyway, when the door opened from the yard they would all parade in, often in much the same order, and step over the gutter into their respective stall. 40 cows all knew their place; they had their hierarchy (much like lobsters - creds to JBP :-) )

    But there was usually that troublemaker who thought that Bessie's stall was better than hers and would try it out,stepping in where she wasn't supposed to.

    This would invariably cause a mild kerfuffle as they would get into a butting contest which would affect about 3 cows either direction until the human hand intervened and sorted things out. Sometimes it took only a loud holler and the culprit would back out and go right to her own space! They knew.

    Noe sure what was at work there - sheer stupidity, momentary dementia or smarts!! Reply With Quote